Scripture: Genesis 29: 1-30
Target Age Group: 1st through 6th grade
Welcome the children to the classroom and chat with them about their week as they gather around the table.
Pray and ask God to teach the children not just head knowledge, but also heart knowledge.
Have the children open their Bibles to Genesis 29: 1 – 30
Have you ever played a trick on someone? (Let the children tell a few instances of tricking someone or being tricked.) Was it a funny trick or a nasty trick? Sometimes when you play a trick on someone it is funny - but sometimes it isn’t funny. Sometimes it really hurts.
Remember that Jacob tricked his father into giving him the blessing instead of giving it to his brother Esau. That wasn’t a very nice trick, was it. Esau was so angry, in fact, that he planned to kill Jacob.
So Jacob ran away to Harran, and along the way one night he met God in a dream of a ladder reaching up to heaven. Remember that when you meet God your life gets changed. Let’s see how God begins to change Jacob…
(Read the story to the children because at this age some of the children do not read smoothly, which hinders comprehension for the whole class. We are using the The Golden Children’s Bible so that each child can follow along with the reading. It is beautifully illustrated and is very simply and tastefully written. For those of you who don’t have this book the following is written in the NIV translation.)
Genesis 29 (NIV)
Jacob Arrives in Paddan Aram
1 Then Jacob continued on his journey and came to the land of the eastern peoples. 2 There he saw a well in the open country, with three flocks of sheep lying near it because the flocks were watered from that well. The stone over the mouth of the well was large. 3 When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.
4 Jacob asked the shepherds, “My brothers, where are you from?”
“We’re from Harran,” they replied.
5 He said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?”
“Yes, we know him,” they answered.
6 Then Jacob asked them, “Is he well?”
“Yes, he is,” they said, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.”…
9 While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherd. 10 When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud. 12 He had told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and a son of Rebekah. So she ran and told her father.
13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he hurried to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his home, and there Jacob told him all these things. 14 Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.”
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, 15 Laban said to him, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”
16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. 18 Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.”
19 Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
21a Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed.”
22 So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23a But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob. 24 And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant.
25 When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?”
26 Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. 27 Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.”
28 And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife… 30 Jacob (married) Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.
Discuss Bible Lesson:
- Jacob went East and came across a well and there were shepherds there. Where did the shepherds say that they were from? Harran.
- Jacob remembered that Harran was the place that Rebekah had been from. So, he asked if they knew Laban. Who was Laban? Rebekah’s brother, Jacob’s Uncle
- Who came while he was talking to the shepherds? Rachel, Laban’s daughter, Jacob’s cousin.
- Why did Jacob kiss Rachel and begin to weep? He had found his mother’s family and he was overwhelmed with joy.
- How did Laban receive him? He said, “You are my own flesh and blood.” and he took him in to live with him.
- What did Laban ask Jacob after he had been there one month? What wages did he want for his work?
- How did Jacob answer? He would work for him for 7 years in exchange for Rachel for his wife.
- Describe Rachel. She was the younger daughter of Laban. She was beautiful.
- Describe Leah. She was the older daughter of Laban. She had “weak” eyes. Maybe she was cross-eyed or blind. We don’t know exactly what that means. But, she wasn’t as beautiful as Rachel.
- Do you think that Jacob should have been picking a wife just for her beauty? No. He should be looking for inner qualities that would make her a good wife.
- Who did Jacob end up married to? Leah
- How do you think that it is possible that he could marry her without realizing that it wasn’t Rachel? The bride would have been wearing a veil.
- Jacob was angry when he realized that his wife was Leah instead of Rachel and he demanded an explanation from Laban. What was Laban’s answer? It is customary for the eldest daughter to marry first.
- Do you remember someone else who had deceived others in the same way in the lesson 2 weeks ago? Yes. Jacob had deceived his brother and father in the same way. (Gen. 25:29-34 and Gen. 27: 1-41)
- How long did Jacob have to wait to marry Rachel? One week.
- How long did he have to work for Laban to pay for her? Seven more years.
- Why do you think that God had a purpose in allowing Jacob to be deceived in this way? The Lord disciplines those he loves. (Hebrews 12:6) He wanted him to see his own sin. God was now beginning to mold Jacob into a Godly man.
- Do you think that God’s plan was messed up because of this trick? No. Jesus came from Leah’s line. God’s plan happens even when we sin.
- Do your parents ever discipline you? Yes.
- Why do you think that they discipline you? To help me to correct my bad behavior and help me to grow into a more godly person.
- Let’s pray and ask the Lord to help us to become more godly…
During the remaining class time do activities that help to reinforce what the children have learned. Here are some suggestions…
Memorize the verse.
Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Lego Memory Verse Activity:
Tape each word of the verse on toddler sized Lego blocks, then have the children assemble the blocks in order. Bring a set for each child, or divide the children into two or three teams and have each race to assemble their blocks first.
Have the children color a color page related to the story. An excellent color page book is “Through-the-Bible Coloring Pages For Ages 4-8” by Janet Skiles. The pages are reproducible.
Do one of these Golden Rule activities.
Have the children color the golden rule page. Then paste the page on a piece of construction paper for matting.
Sing “The Golden Rule Song” , “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”, or “God Will Take Care of You”
Separate into two teams. Give each team a Jacob and Rachel decoder puzzle. The first team to finish the puzzle correctly wins! Have a small prize such as a penny candy or a sticker for each child on the winning team. (Let them know before you read the story that there will be a competition. It’s amazing how closely they will listen to catch the details!)
Evaluate what the children have learned. While they are coloring or crafting ask each one what they learned today.
Send each child’s parent an e-mail (or a hard copy) of the Parents’ Page.